Former New Hampshire congressman Bill Zeliff has died at the age of 85 at his home in Florida.

The Republican originally from East Orange, New Jersey represented the First Congressional District from 1991 to 1997 before attempting a run for governor in 1996. He lost the primary to Ovide Lamontagne who in turn lost the election to then-state Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Zeliff owned the Christmas Farm Inn in Jackson until 2000 when he and wife Sydna moved to Florida. She told WMUR that he died Monday night following a period of poor health.

Zeliff led the House investigation into the 1993 Branch Dividian siege in 1995.

“Congressman Bill Zeliff was a dear friend,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement. “My entire family joins the people of New Hampshire in mourning his passing. He was a true public servant, always had a smile, and was a tireless advocate for the Granite State and our Live Free or Die Spirit. Our thoughts are with Sydna and the family — he will be missed.”

Current First Congressional District Rep. Chris Pappas was saddened to learn of Zeliff's death.

"Bill was a friend & champion to many people and causes across our state, and in his work as the representative of this district in Washington he never forgot that public service is about the constituents you serve," Pappas wrote on his personal Twitter account. "Bill’s kindness and can do spirit underpinned a successful career in politics and business, and I join Granite Staters in mourning his loss. I want to extend my deepest condolences to his wife Sydna, their children, and entire family at this difficult time.

Second Congressional District Rep. Ann Kuster also mourned his death.

"New Hampshire lost a dedicated, compassionate, and caring Granite Stater in Congressman Bill Zeliff. Bill was a committed public servant, and I join the entire state in mourning his loss and honoring his legacy," she wrote on her personal Twitter account.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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